Meredith College President Jo Allen Elected Chair of the NAICU Board of Directors

February 06, 2019

Jo Allen, Ph.D., president of Meredith College (NC), has been elected chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).  Allen leads a list of four new board officers and 14 new board members who took office at the close of the 2019 NAICU Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day held in Washington, DC.
NAICU board members set the association’s agenda on federal higher education policy, actively encourage support for the association’s priorities and initiatives, and oversee the organization’s financial administration.  Board members serve three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms.
Allen succeeds Andrew K. Benton, president and CEO of Pepperdine University (CA) who remains on the board as immediate past chair.
“Jo Allen brings a deep commitment to higher education and a keen understanding of the political environment in Washington to the role of NAICU board chair,” said NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D.  “As president at Meredith College, she has led efforts to recruit students with dramatically improved board scores, sustained enrollment, and enhanced campus services and facilities.  Widely regarded as a leader in higher education, she will bring significant experience to the role of NAICU board chair.”
“This is a period of transition for private, nonprofit colleges and universities, and the NAICU organization,” said Allen.  “New political forces in Washington, changing demographics among college students, and new leadership at NAICU will make 2019-20 a year of significant challenges and opportunity.  I look forward to working with a strong board and the NAICU team to achieve our organizational goals.”
With more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and associations as members, NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education and reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.  Member institutions include major research universities, church-related colleges, historically black colleges, art and design colleges,traditional liberal arts and science institutions, women’s colleges, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions.

Allen Background

Jo Allen took office as the eighth president of Meredith College on July 1, 2011. She is the first Meredith College alumna to assume leadership of the 127-year-old institution, one of the largest private colleges for women in the United States.

Since taking office, Allen has guided Meredith to an enviable position of strength and vitality by leading a collaborative, community-wide process to develop a comprehensive strategic plan, Meredith Forever.  In the intervening seven years, Meredith has exceeded enrollment and retention goals, completed critical improvements to campus facilities, and raised more than $90 million during Beyond Strong, its largest fundraising campaign ever.  The college also established StrongPoints®, the College’s signature coaching and personal advising program, and created a personal and professional development program for women called Stronger U. The college also has earned the highest rating from the U.S. Department of Education for financial stability and launched the Going Strong brand initiative.

Allen previously served as senior vice president and provost, and tenured professor of English, at Widener University, in Chester, Pa. There she oversaw academic and student affairs on four campuses in two states for approximately 6,500 students and more than 700 full- and part-time faculty. She also has served as tenured associate professor of English at East Carolina University and tenured associate professor at North Carolina State University.

Allen has made numerous contributions to the advancement of higher education. She has been the featured speaker and facilitator at programs including the American Council on Education Chief Academic Officer’s Institute and the Pennsylvania State University's Academic Leadership Academy. She has also served as president of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, the largest international scholarly organization for technical and professional communication scholars. She was a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, for whom she also led training workshops on assessment and led site visits for regional and international institutions’ accreditation.  Allen also served as a board member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges and for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Allen has published and presented in more than 200 regional, national, and international scholarly venues, focusing on communication, assessment, and leadership in higher education. She is the author or editor of Writing in the Workplace and Assessment in Technical and Professional Communication, which won the Council of Program’s in Technical and Scientific Communication’s 2010 award for best contribution to the work of program assessment and the College Composition and Communication’s 2012 award.

A North Carolina native, Allen earned a master’s degree from East Carolina University and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University in English literature, with an emphasis in Technical and Professional Communication. Her B.A. from Meredith is also in English.  She has been recognized by Meredith College as a Distinguished Alumna and by East Carolina University as an Outstanding Woman of ECU.

Currently, she serves as the treasurer of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), and as a member of  the Presidents’ Council of the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges and on the Presidents' Council of USA South, Meredith's athletic conference.

Other New Board Officers

Three other individuals were elected as Board officers, serving one-year terms expiring in February 2020:
  • Roger N. Casey, Ph.D., president of McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, will serve as vice chair of the board.  He is in line to assume the position of board chair in February 2020.
  • Lewis E. Thayne, Ph.D., president of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, has been named treasurer.
  • Andrea P. Cook, Ph.D., president of Warner Pacific University in Portland, OR, has been named secretary.
New NAICU Board Members
Eight individuals were elected to three-year terms ending in February 2022, representing the Association’s eight national regions:
  • Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., president of Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, will represent Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).
  • Carolyn J. Stefanco, Ph.D., president of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, will represent Region II (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York).
  • Lillian B. Schumacher, Ed.D., president of Tiffin University in Tiffin, OH, will represent Region III (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia)
  • Stephen R. Briggs, Ph.D., president of Berry College in Mount Berry, GA, will represent Region IV (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Caroline, Virginia).
  • Sherilyn R. Emberton, Ed.D., president of Huntington University in Huntington, IN, will represent Region V (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin).
  • Eric Bruntmyer, president of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX, will represent Region VI (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas).
  • Darrel D. Colson, Ph.D., president of Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, will represent Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota).
  • Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., president of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, will represent Region VIII (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado., Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming).
In addition, Ronald Crutcher, president of the University of Richmond (VA) will serve a one-year term created by the resignation of Robert Johnson, president of Becker College (MA).

Four additional individuals were named to three-year terms as at-large board members with terms ending in 2022:
  • Colette P. Burnette, Ed.D., president of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX.
  • Christopher W. Kimball, Ph.D., president of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Eric F. Spina, Ph.D., president of University of Dayton in Dayton, OH.
  • Helen J. Streubert, Ed.D., president of College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ.
In addition, David W. Tretter. president of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities in Springfield, IL has been elected chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives and will complete a three-year term on the NAICU Board.  Susanna Baxter, president of the Georgia Independent College Association in Atlanta, GA, was elected vice president and chair-elect of NAICUSE and will serve a three-year term on the NAICU Board.

David S. O’Bryon, president of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (MD) and incoming chair of the NAICU Secretariat will serve a three-year term on the NAICU Board.

And finally, Steve Heuer, assistant vice president, government affairs at New York University, has been appointed to a three-year term as an ad-hoc, non-voting member representing government relations professionals.

At the same time, four board members have been appointed as chairs of the association’s standing committees on policy and programs:
  • Scott Flanagan, Ed.D., president of Edgewood College in Madison, WI, will chair the Accountability Committee.
  • David R. Evans, Ph.D., president of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, VT, will chair the Policy Analysis and Public Relations Committee.
  • Rev. J. Cameron West, Th.M., president of Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL, will chair the Student Aid Committee
  • Shirley Mullen, Ph.D., president of Houghton College in Houghton, NY, will chair the Tax Policy Committee.

MORE News from NAICU